Artifacts: Ben Brooks

Artifacts is a series that explores the items carried by some of my favorite creative people. It's not just about the what but also the why.

Ben Brooks is a commercial property manager and writer living in Lakewood, WA. You probably know him best from his site, The Brooks Review, where he's not afraid to share his opinions on technology, politics, and a host of other things. He's also someone who appreciates nice things, which made him the perfect first guest for my Artifacts series.

Here are Ben's artifacts, as told by himself:

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Artifacts - Ben Brooks

  1. Retina MacBook Pro 15": This is the first retina Mac – with the low end processor – but maxed out RAM. I bought it to last me for at least three years, I think it will make it just fine. Love this machine.

  2. Travel Kleenex: There's only like a two-month span of the year where my nose isn't runny. These little packs of tissues are crucial. I only buy Kleenex brand because every other brand I've tried isn't up to the task.

  3. Chris Reeves Small Sebenza 21: I spent over a year looking for the perfect pocket knife and found it in the small Sebenza. Fantastic knife, but fantastically expensive. I don't leave home without it (unless I am boarding a plane).

  4. Fenix E11 Flashlight: About 100 lumens from this tiny little light and powered by an easily attainable battery. It's simple, waterproof, and great to keep in your kit.

  5. Apple EarPods: I rarely listen to music while out and about, but I often watch videos from Devour and I can't stand having them play aloud.

  6. Apple Screen Cleaning Cloth: I think I got this with a Cinema Display, or maybe an iPad. I love this, best cleaning cloth I have found. I can't believe there are people in this world that go somewhere without a cleaning cloth.

  7. Hard Graft Box Card Case: I just got this from my wife for my birthday present and I love it. It looks great and holds my business cards securely. Most importantly it holds a lot of cards — I was tired of being the “sorry I just gave out my last card” guy.

  8. Patriot 32gb USB 3.0 Flash Drive: My hard drive is only 256gb so when I need to offload some stuff quickly, this is where I turn. It's fast, and large. I keep wishing for a Thunderbolt flash drive, but I probably couldn't afford it.

  9. Olympus OM-D E-M5 with 12mm f/2: I used to be a guy that carried around a dSLR with him everywhere. Then the iPhone camera got pretty good and the cost of carrying the huge dSLR around started to make less sense. And then I bought the Panasonic GX1 and fell in love with the micro-4/3 format. I just got the E-M5 a little while ago (and the 12mm even littler ago) but I love this camera. There’s something about shooting with the E-M5 that just evokes a response in me that I’ve only ever felt when shooting with my 5D. Something about the camera just speaks to me and says: this image is going to be great. (I wish they all were great…)

  10. Bamboo Stylus: I'm not a big stylus guy, but I loved the Cosmonaut — unfortunately it really is too cumbersome for me. This is a good little stylus that I mostly have for drawing diagrams when in meetings or for others to sign stuff on my iPad. I don't like carrying it, but I need it too frequently to not carry it.

  11. Montblanc Rollerball: I've had this pen since 9th grade. It's been with me through a lot of things in my life and signed almost every important document in my life. I love it, and even though I rarely use it, I wouldn't feel right not having it around. It writes like a dream.

  12. Blistex: Because we all hate chapped lips, or worse, cracked lips.

  13. Glif Tripod Mount: I've always carried one, but I just got the newest model. I can't say I like it better as it is much larger, but I'll stick with it a while longer. (Eventually I won't have a choice I suppose.) I keep a GorillaPod in my car to use with it.

  14. Monoprice battery pack: There's a reason it looks worn — I take it everywhere. It doesn't work wonders on your iPad, but for an iPhone it kicks ass. It's pretty light and fits in my back pocket if needed. The Lightning cable I carry is long enough to reach from my back pocket to the front so I keep the battery pack in my back pocket while I charge my iPhone in the front pocket. It looks ridiculous, I am sure, but works like a charm.

  15. Cables: I have this handy little Incase kit and I keep a longer Lightning cable with it. I find the cables in it too short for iPhone charging if you want even an outside chance of using the phone while you charge it.

  16. iPhone 5s: Constant companion that I almost forgot to include because it never leaves my pocket or my hand. (Unless I am sleeping that is, or showering I suppose.)

  17. iPad Air: This is the best iPad to-date and one of my favorite things I carry with me. I'll use just about any excuse to use the iPad over other things. Reading. Writing. Photo editing. You name it.

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You can find Ben as @benbrooks on